Black Players, Families Unite Against Race Norming in NFL Settlement


In December of 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling in a settlement case, clearing the way for the NFL’s estimated $1 billion settlement over concussion-related lawsuits with retired players to commence.

Some cheered but others fumed as it left many questions unanswered.

How did the league deal with head trauma? What about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), the condition that affected former players such as Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Aaron Hernandez, and possibly Vincent Jackson?

Critics also felt the deal favored currently injured retirees and left those who hadn’t yet been diagnosed with potential neurological diseases.

But one of the most significant elements quietly left unaddressed was the issue of race norming.

Race norming sets different standards for white and Black athletes. According to the AP, it assumes that “Black athletes start with worse cognitive functioning than white people, which means that it’s harder for them to show a deficit.”

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